Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Arthur Spring OBE TD (23 October 1921 – 25 December 1997) was a British Army officer, artist and co-founder of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. Following active wartime service in the Far East, he became a teacher of Art in South London, and then in Oxfordshire.
His poem ‘The Downs at Dusk’ celebrates the sense of permanence our landscape exuded in 1938, despite the brooding threat of war.
The Downs at Dusk
Upon the wild downs’ searèd top
The wind-rush whistles fiendishly,
And nettles on the ancient rampart bend
While harebells tossed their tiny heads.
In painful opposition to the blast.
Then dull is he who does not sense
The vast inhuman mystery
That shrouds the whale-back of the downs,
And emanates from tumuli and mound
To compass him with phantoms of the past.
For there they stand majestically,
Unaltered since the race of man
First flung a ditch and rampart
Wide about the highest crowns,
That circled round their dreadful brow.
For ‘Marlborough Downs‘ by Michael Spring
(Kenneth’s son) click below.